August 25, 2023 at 5:40 a.m.

The Lake Where You Live

Canada dreaming

By Ted Rulseh, Columnist

Tomorrow I leave for a four-day fishing trip with my two brothers on a lake north of Thunder Bay in Ontario. And I have mixed feelings.

Back in my 20s I dreamed about fishing in Canada. The dreams intensified after I read a magazine article about angling for giant northern pike and lake trout on Kasba Lake in the Northwest Territories.

I’ve been to Canada half a dozen times now, once to a remote lodge in the NWT, where my older brother and I experienced spells of every-cast fishing for pike, cookie-cutter size being a plump 30 to 32 inches, and some considerably bigger. The other trips were less spectacular, but still yielded pike and walleyes in good numbers and sizes.

So why do I have mixed feelings? 

In large part it’s because I’ve grown deeply attached to Birch Lake and to the embarrassment of riches that is Wisconsin’s northern lake country. Fishing here can’t measure up to Canada on a consistent basis, although on local lakes I’ve had days when it was as good as on some lake 10 or a dozen hours away in Ontario.

Simply put, I like the atmosphere of fishing close to home. I know my own lake intimately, and I fish several others with which I am well familiar, and to which I have sentimental attachments that go back as far as 60 years.

On one lake in particular there’s a place a goodly distance from shore where a rocky hump rises from 18 feet of water up to seven or eight. Very few anglers know about it. Only once in the nearly 50 years I’ve visited that lake have I seen another boat on that spot. Most lake visitors just work the shorelines.

On that spot I’ve caught smallmouth and largemouth bass in abundance. On a couple of occasions, huge bluegills.

On one foggy morning, giant crappies, upwards of 13 inches. And once several walleyes as large as 22 inches.

Of course, going to Canada doesn’t keep me from visiting the familiar lakes and the secret spots I’ve discovered over the years and share only with my brothers and close friends. But leaving now, in the late middle of August, with summer on the wane, has me torn.

Only a bit more than a month of fishing remains before the autumn weather gets dicey. There are a few treasured lakes I want to get back to, and time is running out. Counting a day’s travel on each end of the Ontario trip (another cause for mixed emotions), I am losing six days in the Northwoods surroundings I love.

And maybe just as important, I’m forfeiting six of summer’s last days here on Birch Lake.

I can only hope the walleyes and northerns are biting on Holinshead Lake. I can’t be sure of that but of one thing I am certain: When the adventure is over I will be happy to get home. 

Ted Rulseh is a writer, author and lake advocate who lives on Birch Lake in Oneida County. His new book, “Ripple Effects,” has been released by UW Press. You can learn about it by visiting his website at https://thelakeguy.net.


Comments:

You must login to comment.

Sign in
RHINELANDER

WEATHER SPONSORED BY

Latest News

Events

July

SU
MO
TU
WE
TH
FR
SA
30
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
28
29
30
31
1
2
3
SUN
MON
TUE
WED
THU
FRI
SAT
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
30 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31 1 2 3

To Submit an Event Sign in first

Today's Events

No calendar events have been scheduled for today.